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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cloquet Middle School 2015

Cloquet Middle School
509 Carlton Ave
Cloquet, MN 55720

Year: 2015
Teacher(s): Cindy Edwardson, Nicole Ojanen, Cynthia Welsh

Abusive Acid: What effect does acid level have on germination and root length of lettuce seeds?

Chloe P, Taylor B

Acidic rain is precipitation that has elevated levels of hydrogen ions for has a low pH level. This type of rain can have devastating effects on plants, aquatics animals, and infrastructure (National Geographic, 2015). The question is: What effect does acid level have on germination and root length of lettuce seeds? The hypothesis is: If the pH level of the water lettuce seeds are germinated in is low (acidic), then germination rate and growth will be reduced. Four germination chambers were used for each solution with a different pH level (4, 5, 6, 7, and 8). Five lettuce seeds were placed into each chamber, 100 seeds in all. They were incubated in a dark cupboard for four days. Germination rate and root length was recorded.


Alluring Pharmaceuticals: What effect does acetaminophen and ibuprofen have on grass plant height and germination of of the grass plant seeds.

Rachel B, Hannah L

Acetaminophen get into the environment through wastewater. It can be flushed down the toilet and mixed with wastewater (MN Health, 2014). The question is: What effect does acetaminophen and ibuprofen have on grass plant height and germination. The hypothesis is: If we add acetaminophen/ibuprofen, then the grass seeds with ibuprofen will have a higher germination rate and taller plants then the seeds treated with acetaminophen of the grass plant seeds. Five plastic pots were each filled with 250 milliliters of soil. Fifteen grass seeds were placed on the top of the soil in each pot. Concentrations of 0, 0.2, 2, 20, 100 and 200 mg/L were serially diluted for both ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Daily the plants were watered and grass germination and height was measured.


Busting Bad Buckthorn: What effect does a buckthorn puller treatment method have on the diameter of the plant that can be pulled and the effect on growth in the following year?

Autumn M, Cassandra N

Buckthorn originated from Europe, in America it is an invasive species (Andovermn, 2014). The question is: What effect does a buckthorn puller treatment method (hand pulling, mechanical puller) have on the diameter of the plant that can be pulled and the effect on growth in the following year?  The hypothesis was: If buckthorn is pulled by hand vs. using an engineering steal pulling apparatus, then the pulling apparatus will be able to pull plants with wider diameters along with more roots.  The study was done on a six acre wooded forest area with buckthorn found throughout the understory. Ten plants were pulled the previous year using a hand and mechanical method with a marking flag. This year any plants that regrew were pulled and measured.


Capable Coffee: What effect does the bend of coffee have on lettuce germination and root length?

Willow T

Seppa (2015) has documented that coffee is now considered a very beneficial bean. Research shows there are chemicals that have been found to be valuable for many human ailments.  The question is: What effect does the bend of coffee have on lettuce germination? The hypothesis is: If different blends of coffee are used to germinate lettuce seeds, then germination will be positively affected by the medium roast. Each set of three petri culture dishes with germination pads, were inoculated with one milliliter of water and one milliliter of light, medium and dark roast coffee.  The control with two milliliters of water. Five lettuce seeds were placed into each set of three test chambers, 60 seeds in all. Germination and root length in centimeters was noted.


Eat Organic! What effect do organic vs. non-organic foods have on mold growth and spoilage?

Ashley Z

Organic food is made using no chemicals, no chemical preservatives, chemical pesticides, and chemical fertilizers (OIS, 2015). The question is: What effect does do organic foods have on mold growth and spoilage? The hypothesis is: If organic food is compared to non-organic food, than mold will grow faster on organic foods. Organic and processed bread as well as organic vs. non organic apples will be used. Five plastic zipper bags will each be filled with one slide of bread and another set with one slice of apple for organic and non-organic. The outline of the bread and apple will be drawn on graph paper. Each day the amount of spoilage or mold growth will be colored in on the graph paper.


Friendly Frass: The question is: What effect do organic fertilizers (butterfly frass and wood ash) on grass growth?

Greg C

Fertilizers can create a better growing environment than natural soil. Organic fertilizer is a natural substance added to soil or land to increase its fertility (Highbeam,1998). The question is: What effect do organic fertilizers (butterfly frass and wood ash) on grass growth. The hypothesis is: If organic fertilizers are used (butterfly frass and wood ash), then grass will grow taller and germinate sooner than if just regular chemical fertilizer is used. Four plastic posts were filled with 200 milliliters of soil. Organic fertilizer was spread on the surface of the soil in a concentration of 0.05 grams. Fifteen grass seeds were placed on top of the soil. To the chemical fertilizer set 0.1% fertilizer solution was added (20ml) once a week.


GIS and Archeology: What effect does the topography of the land (landforms) have on the location of ancient American Indian settlements along the St. Louis River Estuary?

Elizabeth K

Many artifacts have been found and documented for ancient Native American settlements along the St. Louis River Estuary (Mulholla, 2015). The question is: What effect does topography (landforms) have on the location of ancient American Indian settlements along the St. Louis River Estuary?  The hypothesis is: If the location of ancient American Indian artifacts, as determined by old manuscripts, are mapped  in a GIS mapping program, then ancient American Indian settlements will be located within a mile of the St. Louis River. Old manuscripts regarding the location of Native American settlements and where ancient artifacts have been found will be compiled in a GIS map. The distance from the old St. Louis River Estuary will be measured and location of settlement noted.


Glowing GloFish: What effect does zygosity and water temperature have on oxygen and respiration rates for Danio rerio (zebrafish)?

Isabella R, Marcey F

Genetically modified zebrafish are also known GloFish. In the embryo stage they are injected with a gene from a jellyfish that makes them fluoresce in many different colors (Pollak, 2013). The question is: What effect does zygosity and water temperature have on oxygen and respiration rates for Danio rerio (zebrafish)? The hypothesis is: If Danio rerio (zebrafish) are compared by zygosity and water temperature, then oxygen and respiration rates will be greater in warmer water for the transgenic Glofish. Five transgenic and five wild type zebrafish were each placed into a testing chamber with a lid. An oxygen probe was sealed with plastic wrap and a one minute video of the fish was recorded in slow motion. Oxygen and the respiration rate were recorded.  


Glowing Sticks: The effect of temperature on intensity of light produced by a glow stick

Taylor H

Glow sticks have different dyes mixed with hydrogen peroxide and contained within  a vile/ tube (The Chemistry of Glow Sticks, 2015).The stick does not require an external energy source.  My question is: Will different temperatures of water affect the intensity of light produced by a glow stick? My hypothesis is: If you increase the temperature of the water than the glow intensity will increase/ be stronger. We changed four  different temperatures of water and tested to see which temperature will make a green glow stick’s intensity last the longest.  Results are pending.


Grand Graphology: Can graphology (handwriting analysis) be used to determine a person’s DISC personality type?

Ahna A

Graphologists use an analysis of handwriting to develop a personality profile of each writer. The graphologist looks at the characteristics, traits and strokes of each writer (Thomas, 2015). The question is: Can graphology (handwriting analysis) be used to determine a person’s DISC personality type? The hypothesis is: If graphology is used to analyze an individual writing sample, then their DISC personality profile can be predicted.  A writing sample of 112 words, used by a handwriting online analysis website was used. Students were asked to write the words on a white piece of paper. Each of the 130 samples were evaluated for pressure of writing and slant of words. The personality type for each person was predicted and compared to the actual measured DISC personality assessment.


Happy Hermit Crab: What effect do olfactory cues (smells) have on hermit crab behavior?

Brenna M

Hermit crabs use their antennae to capturing olfactory chemical signals from the environment to smell (U.S. National Library of Medicine 2015).The question is What effect do olfactory cues (smells) have on hermit crab behavior? The hypothesis: If a hermit crab is presented with different olfactory cues (food, conspecific, and predator), than the hermit crab will move towards the food and conspecific smell and avoid the predator odor. An observation chamber will be made from the bottom of a large white plastic garbage can. Markings for 360 degrees will be made. The hermit crab will be placed in the center of the observation chamber with a light on. The degrees the hermit crab moves to in the first five minutes will be recorded.


Just Keep Breathing: The effect of salinity on Medaka fish respiration rate

Jerome H, Hannah D

Medaka fish will spend their time in all parts of the aquarium. They will do well in freshwater but prefer brackish waters (Childs, Brough & Roche, 2015).  The question is:  What effect does water salinity have on the respiration rate of Medaka fish?  Our hypothesis is:  If the salinity is higher, then the Medaka fish will have a lower respiration rate. Five Medaka fish were each placed into a small beaker with aquarium water, aquarium water at different concentrations of salt (0.3, 10, 15, and 20 ppt). A one minute video was recorded in slow motion. When played the number of gill movements per minute was recorded. Results pending.


Light the Way: What effect do visual cues (light) have on Monarch development?

Sam B, Cody T

Monarchs have special body parts that help them navigate, they can also fly a mile high (SKL Films, 2012). Many studies show they fly using a sun compass. When exposed to constant darkness there pupas are smaller and more lightly colored (Tibbetts-Brenner, 2015). The question is: What effect do visual cues (light) have on Monarch development. Seventy-five monarch chrysalises were placed in a room with windows on the western side, another seventy-five were placed in a room on the eastern facing side. When the chrysalis emerged was noted and the percentage per day calculated. Also, three larvae were each placed in a dark room, a classroom facing the eastern window and in a grow lab with summer sunlight, grow was noted. 


Magic Music: The effect of location and instrument on sound intensity

Abby S

Acoustics is defined as the science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound (Merriam-Webster, 2015). The question is: What effect does location and musical instrument in a middle school band room have on sound intensity? The hypothesis is If location and musical instruments are changed, then there will be a difference in sound intensity in an auditorium. Musicians will sit in assigned seats, continuously playing the same note. While the decibel meter is placed in a variety of locations in the room. All the locations will be surrounding each instrument sections, and we’ll have 3 trials for each location. The decibel meter will be moved to each location to record the sound intensity in decibels (dBa). Results Pending.


Magical Music: The effect of music on memory

Kylie M

Music is rooted in the primitive brain structures that are involved in motivation, reward and emotion (Mohana and O’Donnell, 2013). The question is: What effect does music have on memory? The hypothesis is: If different types of music are played, then memory will be improved. Middle School students will listen to different types of music for five minutes. After five minutes, with the music still playing they will be asked to memorize a list of 10 words for one minute. They will be given one more minute to write down as many of the words as they can remember. The number of words correct will be compared to the type of music played.


Missing Monarchs: What effect does larval rearing density have on monarch on growth, emergence and survival?

Piper J, Autumn F

Since 1990 the monarch population has decreased by 970 million butterflies (McLaughlin, 2015). Raising monarchs in captivity and releasing them has become a very important task. The question is: What effect does larval population rearing density have on monarch growth, emergence and survival? The hypothesis is: If monarch larval rearing density is varied, then a higher rearing density will have negative effects on monarch growth, emergence and survival? Three sets of three quart-size plastic larva cages had different densities of larval placed in them (one, two and there larva per cage). Growth, time until emergence and survival was recorded. 


Surface Selection: What effect does the texture of a surface have on the location of monarch larva chrysalis formation?

Markis K

This study is  import because we need to save the monarch butterflies. Their populations have declined over the last twenty-years (Monarch Lab, 2015).

The question is: What effect does the texture of a surface have on the location of monarch larva chrysalis formation? The hypothesis is: If the texture of a surface in a monarch cage is varied, then the monarch larva will choose to make its chrysalis on a smoother surface. The covers of twenty plastic monarch cages were each sectioned into four different sections: milkweed leaf, no holes, 1, 2, and 3 centimeter poked holes.  Where the larva made it’s chrysalis was noted and the percentage of chrysalis formed was calculated.


Zippy Zebrafish: What effect of does population density of Danio rerio have on feeding time response?

Elle C

Zebrafish are often used for laboratory testing. They breed and lay eggs everyday (Pollak, 2013). The question is: What effect of does population density of Danio rerio have on feeding time response? The hypothesis is: If zebrafish population density is changed, then the fish in a higher density environment will respond to food faster. Three tanks of zebrafish will each initially have have one fish per tank, next two and finally three fish per tank. A slow motion video will be taken for one minute while the fish eat. Each fish response time to food will be measured.


Zippy Zebrafish: What effect of does population density of Danio rerio have on feeding time response?

Elle C

Zebrafish are often used for laboratory testing. They breed and lay eggs everyday (Pollak, 2013). The question is: What effect of does population density of Danio rerio have on feeding time response? The hypothesis is: If zebrafish population density is changed, then the fish in a higher density environment will respond to food faster. Three tanks of zebrafish will each initially have have one fish per tank, next two and finally three fish per tank. A slow motion video will be taken for one minute while the fish eat. Each fish response time to food will be measured.


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